Furlong: Alleged shooter planned to kill his wife, then himself

William Dresser

William Dresser

The elderly man who allegedly shot his wife Sunday morning at Carson Tahoe hospital planned to kill her, then kill himself, according to his arrest report.

According to the arrest report and Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong:

William Dresser, 88, of Minden was on suicide watch at the Carson City Jail after critically wounding his wife on the hospital’s third floor about 11:30 a.m. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder with a deadly weapon, with bail set at $225,000.

The woman, whose name and age haven’t been released, was at Renown hospital in Reno on Monday with life-threatening injuries. Dresser told deputies she’d been in an accident two weeks earlier that left her paralyzed, and that he’d come to the hospital carrying a gun with four bullets — two for her and two for him. He said the gun jammed after he fired the first shot, then came apart as he attempted to fix it. He said he was trying to shoot his wife in the heart; the bullet struck her in the abdomen.

Department of Corrections staffers detained Dresser quickly. They already were on the ward to deal with another patient.

The man said he and his wife had been married 63 years, and he was crying when deputies arrived and mumbling something to the effect of, “I didn’t accomplish my goal.” The weapon was a small-caliber, semi-automatic gun.

In an interview, Furlong said he couldn’t recall another shooting taking place at Carson Tahoe hospital, and that he’d never seen someone in his/her late 80s get arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. He added that he’d spoken to Dresser at length Sunday night, and that Dresser said the worst previous problem he’d ever had with law enforcement was getting a ticket recently for an auto-registration issue.

“He appears to be emotional,” Furlong said Monday. “He’s OK.”

Inmates on suicide watch are placed in a glass room in direct view of a jail staffer at all times, Furlong said.

“He cannot do anything without an officer observing,” he said.

Hospital staffers were traumatized by the experience, Furlong said. The hospital was locked down for a couple of hours after the incident.

The shooting comes about a month after a gunman walked into a medical facility next to the Reno hospital and killed one doctor and shot another before committing suicide.

Alan Oliver Frazier, 51, made it clear in a suicide note that he was targeting physicians at Urology Nevada in the Dec. 17 attack.

Frazier complained of pain and fatigue for years in an Internet chat room and to neighbors — symptoms he blamed on a botched vasectomy that the center disputes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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